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Shalom Magid

A son who fought alongside his father

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Photo by Iris Glickman

"Lying there with piles of bodies beside me, I was sure I had lost my family forever. All I wanted now, was join the army and revenge their death": Shalom Magid, 96, telling us about the bombings in which he lost his family. Shalom managed to escape the wreckage and enlisted in the Special Operations Patrol of the Red Army Artillery in 1941, at the age of 17.
His first "baptism of fire" as a soldier, was in the severe containment battles in the Caucasus Mountains. In 1942, in the course of the Battle of Stalinegrad, Shalom was seriously wounded. After a long recovery break from the army, he sought re-enlistment in a combat unit. Fate brought Shalom to Kursk, in July 1943. "We had no idea that the land on which we were going to fight would be the largest "butchery" in history. In this earth more than a million soldiers were buried, every inch of it would be absorbed in blood and plowed with shells and lead."
At one point an officer came up to him and asked him: "Is your name Shalom Magid?" The same officer told Shalom that his father was still alive and stationed in Kursk, in another battle unit which was scheduled to take part in the fighting the following day. "I questioned him as to where exactly the unit was located and I began running towards that unit with all the strength I could gather."
A military journalist in the area got hold of the news that a father and son were about to reunite after about two years of uncertainty and were now going to continue the battle together, side by side. He joined them, photograph them and wrote a piece about their story. Shalom now props up from this unlikely reunion. "I finally received the photograph he took 20 years after the war had ended."
Shalom wanted to remain in his father's unit and after the battle of Kursk, he stayed and continued fighting alongside his father for four months. In December 1943, a building in which Shalom was posted was bombarded by the Germans and completely destroyed. His father led a rescue team in a desperate attempt to retrieve his son from the wreckage. "I didn't expect to come out of there alive. I was crushed under the wreckage. I felt my like every bone in my body was broken." Against all odds, Shalom was rescued from the wreckage by his father and weeks later, still in the hospital, he was awarded a medal for excellence in battle. "I was 20 and had survived both the Stalingrad and Kursk battles. I has lost an eye and was covered with many scars, but I was alive. My father was alive as well, I was a happy man".

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